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Business Air News Bulletin
Business Air News Bulletin
The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.
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AIBot selects Honeywell's flight controls for electric aircraft
Honeywell's cFBW system brings benefits such as enhanced safety protocols, operational efficiency and unprecedented flexibility in aircraft design. It enables the removal of conventional mechanical linkages.
AIBot head of aircraft systems Ramey Jamil and executive chairman Jerry Wang; Honeywell senior director, global sales and account management, AAM Taylor Alberstadt and president, EMEAI commercial aerospace Ryan Lees; and AIBot chief engineer John Clarkson.

AIBot has selected Honeywell’s Compact Fly-By-Wire (cFBW) system for integration into its eVTOL aircraft. The California-based company is developing a software-driven, AI-empowered, electric, shared and connected aiEVTOL ecosystem and autonomous capable aircraft.

“Our collaboration with Honeywell marks a pivotal milestone in realising our vision of disrupting the next generation of mobility,” says executive chairman Jerry Wang.

“We at AIBot are taking the current eVTOL market as a baseline and pushing the boundaries, resulting in a game-changing line of products,” adds John Clarkson, chief engineer and former Airbus A380 head of engineering, wing and pylon. “All aspects of the designs, from structures to high-voltage powertrain systems, are advancing the latest techniques and technologies to achieve a significant leap in performance. This makes AIBOT's product lines aesthetically pleasing and world-beating, and places us at the front of this exciting industry.”

Honeywell's cFBW system acts as the technological linchpin in this collaboration, bringing benefits such as enhanced safety protocols, operational efficiency and unprecedented flexibility in aircraft design. The size of a paperback book, it provides aircraft manufacturers like AIBot with greater flexibility in aircraft design without compromising power or safety. The system enables the removal of conventional mechanical linkages controlling the effectors, streamlining maintenance procedures and reducing costs throughout the entire lifecycle of an aircraft.

It also enables seamless remote operation of the aircraft, translating instructions from the aircraft's operator into flight control commands on the aircraft. The system's envelope-limiting feature guarantees safe operations, making it particularly well-suited for stabilising uniquely designed unmanned vehicles and delivering a stable flying experience.

"Our Compact Fly-By-Wire system is a ready-now solution to advance the future of sustainable flight. It is derived from decades of expertise providing similar systems for commercial airliners," says David Shilliday, vice president and general manager, advanced air mobility at Honeywell Aerospace. "The collaboration will enable AIBot to realise its vision of creating a sustainable and efficient transportation ecosystem."

The AIBot aircraft is powered by eight electric motors and will accommodate up to six passengers and a pilot. Last year the company achieved full transition of its aircraft. With MTOW of 7,000lbs, the aircraft has a target maximum range of 250 miles and a top cruise speed of 250mph, making it suitable for short haul use between cities and metropolitan areas across the globe.

In 2024, AIBot will kick off the production of fully autonomous heavy unmanned aircraft for cargo, agriculture, high-speed inspection and medical delivery industries. This endeavour shares its system architecture with AIBot's manned aircraft, for which the inaugural flight will be in 2025. Full product delivery of each aircraft is expected by 2028.

"AIBot is poised to revolutionise the urban air mobility market by utilising the latest in cutting-edge, safety-critical computing platforms, particularly those which bolster the high-performance processing needed for the next-gen algorithms we developed," says Wang. "Collaborating with Honeywell is a huge step forward for us and will help us power the most advanced software-driven aiEVTOL platform."

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